Building on the success of its Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) program, the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter will be making a winter push to spay/neuter feral cats ahead of the spring “kitten season,” when many pregnant cats and kittens enter the town shelter.
Since the birth of the program in 2012, the shelter—working in partnership with Hilton Animal Hospital in Lynbrook and town residents—has performed more than 7,700 spay/neuter surgeries of feral cats throughout the township.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the TNR strategy is the only humane and effective method of controlling the number of feral cats living in a community.
Under the town’s TNR program, a feral cat is trapped in a specially designed cage, transported to the shelter to be spayed/neutered and then, after a recovery period, returned to the same location where they were trapped. The goal of TNR is to allow the cats to continue living in their natural habitats, but without the ability to reproduce and add to the feral cat population.
Cats brought to the town shelter for TNR will also receive free rabies and distemper vaccinations, flea control and ear-tipping (ear-tipping lets other residents know that the cat has already been “fixed”). For a $25 cash payment, residents can also have cats tested for feline AIDS/leukemia. Residents who wish to participate in the town’s TNR program must make an appointment through the town shelter (even if they are bringing the cat to Hilton Animal Hospital in Lynbrook) by calling 516-785-5220, ext. 4630 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space is limited and appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Shelter staff advises residents who are not familiar with TNR to review a fact sheet on the town’s website (toh.li/animal-shelter/feral-cat-spayneuter-program).
While there is no fee to borrow a trap from the shelter, an $80 deposit is required, fully refundable when the trap is returned. The Hempstead Town Animal Shelter is located at 3320 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. For information, visit www.toh.li/animal-shelter or call 516-785-5220.